Saturday, August 29, 2015

Switching Off Cancer

Medical Research

Cell ReplicationCatharine Paddock writes: “The researchers found when they restored normal miRNA signals in cancer cells, they could reverse the process that makes cells grow uncontrollably.”
Photo Credit & Source: Medical News Today

An article, by Catharine Paddock, in Medical News Today reports that researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Florida have found a way to program cancer cells from replicating and have reprogrammed tumorous cells to normal ones. The study, in Nature Cell Biology, suggests that changing the code that produces cancerous cells might be one of the keys to stopping such cells from not only reproducing, but also reverting these to normal cells,

In “Reprogramming cancer cells back to normal looks feasible, study shows (August 24, 2015), Paddock writes:
Senior investigator Panos Anastasiadis, a professor of cancer biology at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, says their findings represent "an unexpected new biology that provides the code, the software for turning off cancer."
The discovery centers around the role of adhesion proteins - the glue that keeps cells together to form tissue - and how they interact with microRNAs (miRNAs) - molecules that orchestrate cell programs by regulating gene expression.
The study shows that when normal cells come together, a specific group of miRNAs suppresses genes that encourage cell growth. But, for some reason, this is disrupted in tumor cells, and growth becomes uncontrolled - the hallmark of cancer.
The work focuses on two proteins: E-cadherin and p120 catenin and their interaction with another protein, PLEKHA7; the absence of PLEKHA7 somehow allows uncontrolled growth of cells.  So, how these proteins react with the miRNA molecules, which regulate gene expression, seems to be an important piece of the puzzle that switches cancer on and off.  It would make sense that if cancer switches on, it can be switched off; the key is finding the right switch, which is no easy matter.  This switching has now been performed in laboratory conditions. Whether it can be done on a larger scale, outside the lab, is what we are waiting to see. 

For more, go to [MedicalNews]

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